Your go-to source for performance boating.
HomeRacingRepeat Offenders At The St. Pete Powerboat Grand Prix

Repeat Offenders At The St. Pete Powerboat Grand Prix

After an uncharacteristically inconsistent middle of the season in 2023, the Huski Ice Spritz team got back on track during Class 1 qualifying at the Monster Energy P1 Offshore St. Pete Powerboat Grand Prix on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Travis Pastrana returned to the driver’s seat of the 47-foot Victory catamaran, joining throttleman Steve Curtis for the final race of the Union International Motonautique Class 1 World Championship Series and the penultimate contest in the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship.

Huski Ice Spritz was the fastest boat in Saturday’s Class 1 qualifying at the St. Pete Powerboat Grand Prix. Photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

For most of this year’s offshore powerboat racing season, the team of throttleman Giovanni Carpitella and driver Darren Nicholson had been the boat to beat in Class 1 in their 47-foot Victory, 222 Offshore Australia.

The team, which locked up the Class 1 world title following the races in Sheboygan, Wis., two weeks ago, looked like it was going to continue its scintillating performance on Saturday when it headed out on the 6-mile course in Tampa Bay and laid down a time of 2:51.52 in the qualifying session. Next up were Pastrana and Curtis in Huski Ice Spritz and they picked up the gauntlet their rivals had thrown, posting the fastest time of the day at 2:47.73, which put them on the pole for tomorrow’s Class 1 race.

“The boat felt good today,” Curtis said. “We found a little bit of stuff after the races up north. I think we’re back to where we were last year.”

For Pastrana, returning to the course where he claimed the pole position and won the race in 2022 was a confidence booster.

“This is one of the more technical courses,” Pastrana said. “It’s super-fast corners and high speed. You really need to drive the heck out of the boat to get around this course.”

Continuing to familiarize themselves with their new 43-foot Skater, Monster Energy/M CON, owner/throttleman Tyler Miller and driver Myrick Coil checked in at 2:52:11 for third position.

“We’re sticking our nose right in there,” Miller said. “There’s more left in the tank without a doubt. It’s down to the little things now. A few races ago, we were still looking at the big things.”

previous arrow
previous arrow
next arrow
next arrow

Enjoy more photos from Class 1 qualifying in the slideshow above.

Qualifying fourth were owner/throttleman Rich Wyatt and driver Hugh Fuller in their 50-foot Mystic, df Young.

A week before the race, there were serious questions about the possibility of the race even happening because of Hurricane Idalia. The storm made landfall in the Big Bend region of Florida, which is a couple hours north of St. Petersburg. Competitors were concerned about debris, but most teams said they didn’t see much other than seaweed.

The DeFalco Racing team in Class 1 couldn’t complete is qualifying attempt because a boat ran across its bow, causing owner Mike Falco and throttleman Billy Moore to have to pull back off plane to avoid a collision. When the team re-started its attempt to qualify, one of the boat’s Mercury Racing 1,100-hp engines sucked up seaweed and Moore had to shut down the attempt.

Before qualifying, the Pothole Heroes team announced it would not be attempting to qualify because of mechanical issues. This left the 48-foot MTI XINSURANCE team of throttleman Grant Bruggemann and driver Randy Kent that had shown good speed the week before in Sheboygan at the Mercury Racing Midwest Challenge. Unfortunately the boat hit something that tore the rudder and all accompanying equipment off the transom. The team will not compete on Sunday.

Sixty seven teams showed up to race in St. Pete after the hurricane rolled through town only a few days earlier. A couple feet of storm surge cleared out the streets but city officials and the management team at P1 Offshore felt it would be good for the community to go forward with the race.

Sean Conner and Shaun Torrente ran away with the shortened Super Stock race in their 32-foot MTI Allied Construction Management.

Ten teams in the Super Stock class made the trip to compete and when clouds rolled in, the seas laid down for the final race of the day on Saturday. The 32-foot MTI, Allied Construction Management, with throttleman Shaun Torrente and owner/driver Sean Conner had the coveted inside lane. Their primary rivals, owner/driver Reese Langheim and throttleman Julian Maldonado in the 32-foot Victory, Jackhammer, were on their hip in lane two.

When the green flag flew unexpectedly early, Torrente said he and Conner got a “crappy start.”

“I left a lot of space between me and the pace boat so everyone could see the green flag,” Torrente said. “To Jackhammer’s credit, they held their lane and gave us space.”

After winning the Super Stock race on this course last year, Conner and Torrente were confident coming into the 2023 event. “We were two seconds ahead of last year,” added the throttleman, who ran his first S2 Power Boats catamaran to an electric boat top speed record of 116 mph during last weekend’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri.

previous arrow
previous arrow
next arrow
next arrow

Check out the slideshow above for more images from the Super Stock contest.

Langheim said his team propped for rougher water and didn’t have a tall enough wheel to keep up with the front runners.

In keeping with the redemption theme, driver Myrick Coil and throttleman Rusty Williams had a strong run in their 32-foot Doug Wright, Performance Boat Center/FASS Diesel Fuel Systems. Fourth went to the father and son team of A.J. and Pete Bogino in the 32-foot Doug Wright, CoCo’s Monkey. With a few laps remaining the race was red-flagged, and not restarted, after the Steele Industries team rolled its boat. Fortunately no one was injured in the incident.

After the Class 1 qualifying, the day’s action started with the Bracket 500, 600 and 700 classes taking to the 6-mile course on Tampa Bay. Bracket 500 matched Super Stock with 10 entries and there was a bit of confusion at the start.

The Bracket 500-class battle between Bulletproof/Team Farnsworth (517) and Rum Runners was fun to watch.

In the 29-foot Warlock, Bulletproof/Team Farnsworth, throttleman Elijah Kingery and driver Eric Ullom were in lane one, which gave them the advantage heading into the first turn. Defending national champions, throttleman Micheal Stancombe and owner/driver J.J. Turk were in the 30-foot Phantom, Golf N Gator/XINSURANCE.

At the start, the 26-foot Scarab, Rum Runners, with owner/throttleman Fran Vellutato and driver Mike McColgan, was in a far outside lane, and when the green flag flew, McColgan said, “The paceboat definitely didn’t have us lined up right. I was heading toward the dogleg because I thought the dogleg was the first pin because that’s where they pointed us.”

As things sorted themselves out, Bulletproof/Team Farnsworth pulled out to a lead it would not relinquish followed by Rum Runners. Stancombed and Turk tried every move they could make to gain a position, but unofficially wound up third.

In Bracket 600, two of the young guns of offshore racing, driver Reef Dellanos and throttleman Ryan Stahlman in the 26-foot Joker, Freebird, continued their winning ways. They moved out to the lead and ran a smart line taking the victory over their sistership, Ivey Racing, with throttleman Damon Marotta and owner/driver George Ivey.

previous arrow
previous arrow
next arrow
next arrow

The slideshow above features more images from Saturday’s racing.

Finally, in Bracket 700, it was a hometown win for the father-son team of Nick and Owen Buis in their 22-foot Activator, Statement Marine.

“We made some CG adjustments and it ran really well,” Nick Buis said.

Editor’s note: Speedonthewater.com hasn’t received additional results for Bracket 700 and all finishes are unofficial.

Related stories
St. Pete Grand Prix Preview: What To Watch And When To Watch It
St. Petersburg Grand Prix Defines The Heat Of Competition
Class 1 Teams Pumped For St. Pete Despite 222 Offshore Australia World Title Clinch
Midwest Challenge Day No. 2—’Good For The Sport’ And Beyond
Back On Top: Class Favorites Prevail In First Day Of Midwest Challenge
Great Lakes Grand Prix Day No. 2—Getting Defensive
Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Finale—Winning The Battle Of Attrition
Cocoa Beach Wrap Up: The Last Lap Is The One That Matters
7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix Wrap Up: Wild Weather, Eight Laps And Five Crashes